Disability scooter owner’s lease terminated due to house rules violation, HFHR issues protest
The HFHR has intervened in the case of a woman with a disability whose residential lease was terminated because she parked her disability scooter inside a building’s staircase.
The tenant needed the vehicle to move effectively but was unable to properly park it in her apartment or outside the building. However, the landlord decided that the parking of the scooter inside violated fire safety rules and “grossly infringed the house rules”.
“In this case, termination of the lease was an excessive remedy. The landlord should take into account special needs of persons with disabilities who must use certain amenities that help them to live their everyday lives”, says Marcin Szwed, a lawyer working for the HFHR.
In a letter sent to the Chairperson of the Social Building Society the Helsinki Foundation noted that the obligation to respect the rights of persons with disabilities established under international instruments and Polish domestic law applies both to public authorities and private entities. It cannot reasonably be argued that a person with a disability who parks her mobility vehicle “grossly infringed the house rules”. Furthermore, any conclusion to the contrary may be interpreted as a sign of discrimination against such persons.
Considering the above, the HFHR urged the landlord to withdraw termination and negotiate with the tenant in order to find a mutually acceptable solution that would enable her to find a suitable parking space for her scooter elsewhere. This can be achieved by offering the woman financial aid in renting or constructing a garage where she can park her vehicle.